Re: How big could a bar code be if a bar code could be big?

From: Fred McLain <mclain_at_zipcon_dot_net>
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 18:49:55 CDT

A simple solution for compression would be to use a block based PBE
(password based encryption) system. I know that doesn't sound simple or
obvious, but in fact many encryption techniques provide pretty good
compression as well. They're also known not to drop bits. I'm
suggesting block based encryption so that the bar code length is known
without requiring any obvious padding. There is at least one
implementation of triple DES for Python out there that we might want to
play with.


On Fri, 2004-04-30 at 13:37, Alan Dechert wrote:
> David,
> > If we find barcodes can be no more than N inches, or L digits or
> > whatever, and the weird incompressible vote doesn't fit in the allowed
> > inches, then we've just disenfranchised that "weird" voter. VERY not
> > good!
> >
> > So in evaluating any compression technique, we need to PROVE
> > mathematically that every legal vote will be compressed by the minimal
> > ratio we rely on. ........
> >
> I agree this subject needs to be studied in some depth before we can claim
> to know the answers.
> However, I don't necessarily agree that we have to use one scheme that works
> for every situtation. Keep in mind that on our demo ballot, more than half
> the bits are for one contest -- the ranked preference contest, "County
> Commissioner."
> What if we find that we can use a 1-d scanner that will work in 99.9 % of
> the circumstances. Say, in San Francisco, they go for IRV and they have big
> ballots so we need a 2-d scanner. What if the 1-d works in 2,218 counties
> while it doesn't work in one. Do we force the 2,218 other counties to go
> for 2-d scanners (maybe $200 ea X 200,000 polling places) ? And you probably
> need at least 2 scanners per polling place.
> I don't see this as an major architecture issue. Our system could work the
> same way with 1-d or 2-d barcodes. If a jurisdiction has no need for the
> 2-d, I see no reason to force them to pay for it.
> Alan D.
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:28 2004

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